Sunday, March 12, 2017

2/3 of an Apple Pie, Latin, Seam-Rippers, & Riding in a Sidecar  ~ March 12, 2017 Daybook 

Looking out my window... it’s still quite dark. At 6:50 a.m. This first day of the spring time change is always a bit bizarre, isn’t it? 

I am thinking... about sewing an apron. It takes a while to psych myself up for the process. It has always in the past involved some quality time with a seam-ripper, many minutes of staring fixedly at the pattern, turning the material this way and that. 3-d work is definitely not my forte. I always failed that section of standardized tests. You know the only with the flattened out shapes that said, “What shape will be created by folding on the dotted lines?” I don’t know. I still don’t know. 

I am thankful... so very, very thankful for Nathan. A good man- who can find? :o) He is that man. Every year, a little more like Jesus. Every day, a little more passionate about the Word of God. I can trust him, and that’s a huge deal to a woman. 

One of my favorite things... is a Jan Karon book. I drop into the world of Mitford whenever I need a break from the ‘real world.’ Just some time with Father Tim and his gigantic dog (controlled by Scripture), Cynthia, and Wordsworth drain all the day’s stress away. It’s like a massage in paperback. All that to say, there is a NEW ONE coming out this fall. 

I am wearing... pajamas. Specifically, I have now crossed the line into having to buy ‘moisture-wicking’ pajamas for the blasted night sweats. It’s some precursor, I’m told, to getting old. 

I am creating... a safe place for my husband and children. That may sound silly, but I’ve found that to be a huge part of my role, and one I’ve been working on for many years. They shouldn’t have to tiptoe around any family member who is holding everyone emotionally hostage. They should always feel that the door is open to any conversation, any time.  The children should see boundaries that are clear and consequences that are obvious. Love that is always present. As Karon’s latest book was titled… “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.” In the more concrete sense, I am creating… um… nothing. I hate crafting. 

I am reading... a huge stack of variety right now. For starters, I’m in Deuteronomy with It’s pretty much one huge farewell sermon from Moses. I’m trying to figure out a way to bring up the idea of Facebook Live to Nathan for one of our family Bible discussion times; we have such fun every night. He’ll never go for it :o). On my bedside table, I’m reading Tolkien and Dekker in translation. Reading others’ works in Spanish is one way I keep my skills sharp. I also have Hero by Stoeker, Mother & Son: The Respect Effect by Eggerichs (awesome!), Living a Beautiful Life by Stoddard, a couple of cookbooks from the library… Did I mention we are a house of BOOKS? We love them. Love being surrounded by them. God bless the Hoover Library!   

I am hoping... that my depth-perception test at the eye doctor’s this week will give me some answers. I’ve come to believe I have NO depth perception. It makes me quite clumsy, but it makes driving very tricky. I spend a good deal of time telling my brain, “What you think you see is not real… it’s all good.” Nathan has come to realize that it’s an eyesight issue, not just paranoia. He says when I ride as passenger that I always feel he is hurtling me to my death. Which is true. And he’s probably the safest driver I know. I seriously feel like I’m sitting in a sidecar. Nights are the worst. My brain only perceives as much road as the headlights can reveal. If I’m tired, I fight a bit of panic as it seems I’m about to hurtle off a precipice. Fun? Not so much. 

I am learning...  Latin. Yep, Latin. I’ll be teaching it next year as part of the Classical Conversations Challenge A curriculum. I spent some time yesterday musing over the literature selections, etc. We are going to have a blast. Not to mention that these are seventh-graders- my happy spot :o). I’m also learning the fine art of being a mom to an almost twelve year old girl. This is a tricky thing. Delightful and totally overwhelming as the hormones strike, and strike hard (I’m sorry, Mother. Yes, I’m sorry for ever being twelve.) She’s excited about being old enough for Youth Camp this summer. Is that possible? That’s how I met Nathan. He was my youth camp counselor when I was twelve.   

In the kitchen... there is a homemade apple pie. OK, there’s actually 2/3 of a pie. As everyone knows, they’re always best piping hot with vanilla ice cream on the side, melting into a dipping puddle. So, we celebrated NOTHING with a pie last night. It was lovely.

Sunday Morning Reflection:
My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

For thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Hast given us joys, tender and true,
Yet all with wings;
So that we see gleaming on high
Diviner things.

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.

I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

-A. Procter, 1858

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fears, Steve Green and Crunchy Ice
I have the old Steve Green recording "Woven in Time" in my car. Its music is especially contemplative, and I use it for such moments. Yesterday, I was listening to the song "Whatever It Takes." Its lyrics remind me very much of one by the same title I've sung in church since I was just a little, little girl. At the bottom of this post, you can read them both for comparison/contrast. You know the one. "I'll trade sunshine for rain... whatever it takes to draw close to you, Lord..." Frankly, the lyrics always scared me more than a trifle. It didn't help that occasionally song evangelists would pause and say gravely, "Do you hear what you're singing? I want you to not sing the next verse unless you REALLY MEAN it!" And I would go silent. How could I know if I really meant it? My conscientious heart considered all the fearful unknowns and decided I couldn't sing. At some point, my pride probably kicked in, and I may have chimed in with silent "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon"s. Maybe.

I still have a lot of fears. I like to say that I'm not afraid of death, just of what may get me there. In the past, certain fears have utterly paralyzed me. I can lie in bed and imagine a gazillion possible tragedies that could befall my family at a moment's notice. In fact, I find that I'm quite talented at coming up with scenarios. Nothing like using my creativity to scare myself half to death. My children, like most mini-people, struggle with the same. "Why are you sleeping out here?" or "You went to sleep with your light ON? Why?" is often given the answer "I scared myself."

I rode through McCalla yesterday, sipping on the Coke Zero that disguised the real treasure in that Chick-Fil-A cup- crunchy ice! Steve Green sang the song, I skipped back and he sang it again. And then again. And again with me, a not very tuneful me, but me. With my whole heart, I can sing these songs now. My kids weren't along (as I like to say, "The best part of homeschooling is being with my kids all. the. time. The worst part of homeschooling is being with my kids. all. the. time." They so despise my grocery trips that they chose dishes over accompanying me. I was fine with that). If they had been along, and if they had not been distracted by their backseat goofiness, they would have piped up and said, "HOW can you sing that?" I know them.

How? Age, for one. Knowledge, for two. Relationship, for the win. I'm older, I've seen scary, and it hasn't 'kilt' me yet (as we say here). In fact, I have enough notches in my emotional gun handle to prove that in every moment of death and life conflict (and every minute of casual fear), God's grace has been present in an incredible way, and I have overcome. On the knowledge end, and beyond experiential, I know my Bible a lot better than I did at ten. My theology of grace and suffering and heaven is a lot more complete and that helps, a ton. Trust and faith must be built on truth, not "experiences" alone. I have found two life themes to say to myself when Nathan is thirty minutes late coming home or I hear a creak under the bed: 1) There is no grace for the imagination & 2) There are no lapses in the goodness of God. These are part of my arsenal, and I keep them sharp with use. But there is no substitute for relationship. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him. To contemplate handing control to anyone is terrifying. To an omnipotent Being, even more so. To a completely GOOD best friend, who's always come through, a completely different story. There are still a few butterflies that flitter about internally when I sing, but I affirm truth instead.

Steve Green: Whatever it takes
To keep me tender toward You
Whatever it takes, Lord
I beg You to do
Whatever You must lead me through
Whatever it takes, Lord … do
At times I hear your voice and try to hide
But patiently you draw me to your side
I may not always see
That Your words are life to me
So many times I’ve missed You
Help me, Lord, to not resist You
Sometimes my heart gets hard and I can’t see
That Your correction is protecting me
But as I look within
The darkness of my sin
Breaks my heart and leaves me tender
Gratefully I then surrender

The other one:
There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree
And it whispers
“Draw closer to Me
Leave your world far behind
There are new heights to climb
And a new life in Me you will find”
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
Take the dearest things to me
If that’s how it must be to draw me closer to You
Let my disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If in sorrow more like You I’ll become
I’ll trade sunshine for rain, comfort for pain
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
That’s what I’ll be willing to do